Slide Show | April 2014

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How Drones Will Transform These 6 Industries

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Once the government sets rules for commercial drone use in the U.S.—and it will, likely in the next year or two—business applications of drones will take off, literally. A variety of industries are planning to use lightweight, unmanned aircraft. That will pack a big economic wallop, creating thousands of jobs for drone operators, data analysts, mechanics and others. The Kiplinger Letter forecasts that this could be a $10 billion industry by 2025.

Just as in military applications, surveillance will be commercial drones’ first role. But as technology improves, drones will carry payloads that they can deliver (packages and pizza?) or distribute (pesticides and fire retardant).

The use of drones in civilian airspace will come with several restrictions, stemming from the Federal Aviation Administration’s concerns about privacy and interference with existing aircraft. Expect limits on who can fly drones, how many are allowed to fly in certain areas, the altitude at which they can fly, and the time of day they can operate.

But drones are coming. Look forward with us to six industries poised to change dramatically once regulatory hurdles are cleared.

How Drones Will Transform These 6 Industries



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